Dwight Howard: Shaquille O’Neal is “done…Its time to move on”
Center Dwight Howard collided in a verbal confrontation with former Los Angeles Lakers big man Shaquille O’Neal on Thursday, after he chose Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum over Howard as NBA’s top centers in the game today
"I don't care what Shaq says," Dwight Howard said after Thursday’s practice. "Shaq played the game. He's done. He's gone. It's time to move on."
Dwight Howard took part in the third Los Angeles Lakers’ training camp for the third straight day despite undergoing back surgery during the offseason. He has been gradually increasing the workload during practices and also engaged in five-on-five scrimmage, still with limited contact, for the first time all offseason.
Current TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal discredited Dwight Howard for his impact on the game as No.5, during a roundtable discussion with fellow analysts on NBA.com. Shaquille O’Neal doubted Dwight Howard’s status as the “best center in the league” and claimed that his “pick-and-roll” style provided an inferior game play in comparison to centers Philadelphia 76ers’ Andrew Bynum and Brooklyn Nets’ Brook Lopez.
"We as players, we always watch people before us," said Shaquille O’Neal. "When I came in it was Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon, guys who played like true centers who played inside.”
“What we have now are centers that are going to the European style, which is a lot of pick-and-roll,” said Shaquille O’Neal of the current talent at the position.
Shaquille O’Neal continued that his “old-school” roots forced him to rank Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum above Dwight Howard because they play center “with their back to the basket.”
However, during the discourse, Shaquille O’Neal initially confused Brook Lopez with his less-accomplished brother, New Orleans Hornets center Robin Lopez.
"I'm not talking about dunking,” stated Shaquille O’Neal, “I'm talking about playing like a big man with moves… putting up nice, solid big-man numbers.”
Dwight Howard cited that Shaquille O’Neal’s statements were hypocritical in nature since the big man had always complained in his active career of being judged by “older guys.”
“Now he's doing the exact same thing,” said Dwight Howard. “There's no sense for him to be talking trash to me.”
“He's one of the most dominant players to ever play the game,” continued Dwight Howard. “Just sit back and relax. You did your thing. Your time is up.”
Considering that the Los Angeles Lakers will be retiring Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 34 jersey this season during half-time of 2nd April’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, the occasion can prove to be uncomfortable for both Dwight Howard and NBA’s former “superman”.
The Los Angeles Lakers also play against the Dallas Mavericks in their season-opener on 30th October.
Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t missed an opportunity target Dwight Howard before as he told the Times-Picayune in an interview last month that Dwight Howard’s move to Los Angeles Lakers failed to draw his attention since the center still had a long way to go to rank top in the NBA.
"You have to care to have a reaction,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “For him, he's going to have to at least win three (championships) to get people's respect."
The 40-year-old Shaquille O’Neal won the first of his four NBA championships at the age of 27, and at 26 Dwight Howard still has to claim his first championship. However, Dwight Howard made league history by becoming the first player to claiming three back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards.